What happened to my SAP Project? Let’s start by firing my Lowest Price Configuration Bid! A Saturday night dinner conversation!!



Saturday night and visiting with some family members from the other side of the table. One is quite adamant, when he learns that I worked for SAP, that SAP is “Just an Finance System” and doesn’t  handle change orders or manufacturing logistics.

I feel my ire rising as I explain that Sap has a strong Logistics presence, it easily handles change orders (not their kind of change orders, the Uncle protests. He is talking about the kind of change order where an order changes after the sales order is made and before the goods are shipped). I shake my head. This is a social gathering , but again I can’t resist talking about SAP Change Orders from the variant configurator to Engineering Change Orders, Recipe Editing and so on.

Uncle shakes his head. Is this new in SAP he asks? I answer that these functions including all for the reporting on these function had been in SAP at least 15 years, maybe longer.

He insists Change Order were not available in SAP and they could only use what SAP was created for: Finance.

Boy, did someone blow it! Here is a typical company. Nothing fancy but an old school Electrical component manufacturer and they were sold a bill of goods.

Not only were they poorly trained, but they spent their valuable project dollars on building weak and limp interfaces to a series of systems. Systems, they had intended on replace when they purchased SAP originally. But rather than learning what SAP offered and how it could be set up to meet their needs, they probably contracted with the lowest priced configuration team, did a poor job in training themselves before the Project began (because their own IT staff did not “buy into” replacing the 150 “Good” patched homegrown systems they had tweeked and tweeked and re-tweeked for the last 20 years. They did a below average job of training before the “Go-Live” portion of their project and the building and distribution of Reports were dismal.

If only SAP had reports, the Uncle moaned. If only they could look at data from SAP and all of the legacy systems they had continued to maintain after they went live.

If that was my company and I had heard that company, I would:

  1. Fire my current SAP Configurators. Make sure they are replaced with a proven strong team. Interview each and every member of the team you are bringing in. Your company does not want to be a training site for newly hired configurators!
  2. Train a select group of internals what “thinking outside the box” really means and provide them with written 100% support of any and all management over the heads of the team. Make up a set Progress Meeting dates
  3. Pick a primary Project Team from the best of the best of my Company and send them offsite to determine a strategy, especially of what they had learned about SAP to date.
  4. List the important aspects of what they must accomplish in SAP including reducing the number of systems they were maintaining outside of SAP.
  5.  Train the Project Team in the Applications, Integration and Configuration of SAP. Make interfaces and special programs a “Last Case” scenario, not a follow the path of least resistance. The Project Team cannot be afraid of the decisions they are about to propose.
  6. Before the Re-Project begins, establish a Reporting strategy to control every aspect of configuration. No Configuration step is made without first testing it against the reporting requirements.
  7. Set up a Super User and End User training scenario. Start Training and maybe re-training some people. Every company has some old-timers that refuse to do it the new way! It is a time to be harsh if need be!
  8. GO!

In addition to these steps, I would guarantee that while on the project, the Team Members are “ON THE PROJECT” and not pulled 15 ways. The must be dedicated in each and every phase. If they are pulled away from this important task, then someone in Management is not fully supportive of the investment that the Company is about to make in SAP and the Company’s future!

I was so disappointed to hear that SAP had been set up so shabbily at this little Electronics Manufacturer. He acted as if they were they only Electronics Company that SAP had ever worked with. He had never even heard of ASUG or various SAP User Groups.

I reminded the Uncle that if they built a house and when the house was complete, if it learned or a wall fell in or the foundation cracked that they would not stand around yelling at the bad hammer. The owner of the house would seek retribution from the carpenter not the tool. SAP is a tool and works. It works well in a variety of environments. We just need commitments, our brains, know our business and a little forward thinking before we undertake implementing SAP.


One thought on “What happened to my SAP Project? Let’s start by firing my Lowest Price Configuration Bid! A Saturday night dinner conversation!!

  1. Carol Wheelar Yup the reality of the all might … cheap offshore expertise! If the User manual provide all the details they would not need Trainers or Consultants.

    It is a good thing for Consultants like me to come in a show them how to do simple task like that … #expertise_knowledge_training
    2 hours ago · Like

    Karl Gar Big 4 (along with any customization) are part of the problem – like with 5-6 year, $1B+DoD/DLA SAP implementations on $300M bids. Or continuous scope creep forcing one to buy more modules (worse for Oracle ERP). Or any customization – aaahhh it’s a beast only tamed by expertise.
    about an hour ago via mobile · Unlike · 1

    Diana Hazel Carrasco Hello? Is this in English? WTF you talkin’ bout? LOL
    about an hour ago · Like

    Karl Gar Oh Diana Hazel Carrasco, everyone knows compellingly customized innovation is only achieved through empowered process improvement enabled by application rationalization and portfolio analysis which, of course, enables businesses to orchestrate comprehensive transformation. It’s not meant to be complicated.
    about an hour ago via mobile · Unlike · 2

    Carol Wheelar @Karl the customers only look at the lowest bidder and not their RFP. Instead of hiring an experience consultant to review the bids and attend the demos with them, they just sign on the dotted line! I have seen customization for delivered functionali…See More
    55 minutes ago · Like

    Karl Gar I agree, although ERP projects are often ginormous and take place over years, so businesses often need new capabilities not in their original RFPs – mobile apps, RFID, warranty, etc. – especially as they learn what’s available. And the ERP deliver – for another $400-600k. Another huge issue is the lowest bidder often bases their bid on a rigid interpretation of a long list of requirements and then submits tons of change requests that leads to significant cost increases while only minimally increasing scope. Most businesses need expert ERP consultants to write their RFPs as well, but that biases the objectivity of their decision.
    40 minutes ago via mobile · Unlike · 1

    Karl Gar Or bids often grossly underestimate the cost & timelines of legacy migration/integration.
    39 minutes ago via mobile · Like

    Carol Wheelar Normally there is a long range technology road map that is included in the initiated project launch, the additional modules are phased in after the core business functionality is implemented.

    I have worked with a number of clients in the past – to rev…See More
    34 minutes ago · Edited · Like

    Carol Wheelar Yes, when done correctly it is a long process. Unfortunately, many folks think they can cut corners.
    34 minutes ago · Like

    Diana Hazel Carrasco Karl Gar…love you dude! If you put this in Spanish..maybe I’ll understand? LOL..have a beautiful day my friend.
    33 minutes ago · Like · 1

    Stuart Welch I liken an ERP Project to a full body skeletal, nervous system and organ transplant!
    32 minutes ago · Like

    Stuart Welch The :”Victim” of my dinner rage said that had not even run parallel! Jeez! I totally agree Karl Gar
    30 minutes ago · Like

    Stuart Welch Scope Creep happens everywhere. I can’t blame Oracle any more than any other ERP system. Beside, Scope creep usually occurs becasue when faced with change, insecure Management fails to accepts the impending changes and wants it the way it was. They don’t want anything to put those bonuses in jeopardy!
    28 minutes ago · Like · 1

    Carol Wheelar Stuart Welch you are right. I have seen client’s, who customize PeopleSoft to look like their old system. During the update process they lament about how they wish someone would have pushed back on the changes ..lol! Why buy new system if you are going to turn it into the old system?
    24 minutes ago · Unlike · 1

    Stuart Welch And Customized Innovation comes at the end of a barrel of a gun called Untrained! You don’t know how many times I have been onsite and the Customer has said “Oh we developed this or that, just to find out that it was in SAP all along (and many other ER…See More
    22 minutes ago · Like

    Stuart Welch Thank you Carol Wheelar That is why you must get full Management buy in to the Project before you begin. It is like I want a Ferrari but I want it to look like my Dodge Colt becasue that is what I am used to. This is why I am a bad consultant!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s